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Madhya Pradesh

Two get death for rape of minors in MP

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Two persons were sentenced to death by trial courts in Madhya Pradesh in separate cases of rape of children below the age of 12, a lawyer said. The trial lasted for only five and 13 days, respectively, in the two cases.
 
Lawyer Somvir Yadav, who represented a victim in one of the cases, told the media in Gawalior that a city court had convicted Jitendra Khushwaha for the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl who had gone missing from a wedding function in Amkho area on June 20. Her body was found the next day in Kensar Pahadia area. 
 
The trial of the case in the fast-track court of Special Judge Sangeeta Singh was concluded in 13 days through video-conferencing. The trial had concluded on Tuesday, during which 33 witnesses were examined. DNA proof nailed the convict.
 
Katni Additional District and Sessions Judge Madhuri Raj Lal convicted auto-rickshaw driver Raj Kumar Kol and handed him a death sentence after a trial that concluded in five days.
 
Additional District Attorney D.D. Taran told the media that Raj Kumar had sexually assaulted the five-year-old child whom he used to drop at school.
 
He was booked after the child's father lodged an FIR on July 7. 
 
In December, 2017, the Madhya Pradesh Assembly had unanimously passed a bill to amend the Indian Penal Code to enable awarding of death penalty to those found guilty of raping girls aged 12 and below.
 
IANS
 
(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)
 
 
 
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Gadkari launches highway projects worth Rs 5485 crore in Madhya Pradesh

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Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurated or laid the foundation stones for National Highway (NH) projects worth Rs 5485 crore in Madhya Pradesh on Monday.
 
At an event in Guna, he laid the foundation stone for five NH projects of total length 226 km, worth Rs 3583 crore, an official press release said.
 
These include four-laning of the Jhansi-Khajuraho section of NH 75 at a cost of Rs 976.62 crore, which is expected to give a boost to the Jhansi-Khajuraho-Orcha tourist circuit by reducing travel time by 1.5 hours.
 
The four-laning of the Seoni-Nagpur section of NH 7 at a cost of Rs 730.8 crore is expected to reduce travel time by 45 minutes. The four-laning of the Hiran Nadi-Sindoor Nadi  section of NH 12 at a cost of Rs 617.17 crore will save travel time between Bhopal and Jabalpur by 30 minutes, the release said.
 
The four-laning of Rewa-Sidhi section of NH 75 with Churhat Bypass and tunnel at a cost of Rs 1004 crore is expected to cut travel time by one hour. The two-laning of Biaora-Maksudangarh section of NH 752 B at a cost of Rs 254.17 crore will improve safety conditions at 16 difficult spots on this section, it said.
 
Mr. Gadkari also inaugurated 188 km of NH projects worth Rs 1902 crore in the state. These projects include Phase I of 4-laning of Shivpuri-Guna section of NH 3 constructed at a cost of Rs 830.36 crore; 4-laning of Guna- Biaora section of NH 3 constructed at a cost of Rs 1012.9 crore and the 4-laning of parts of Lakhnadaun-Chapara section of NH 7 constructed at a cost of Rs 58.6 crore.
 
Speaking on the occasion, he said Madhya Pradesh had 24 NH of 5186 km length before 2014. Now there are 96 NH of length 13248 km in the state. During the last four years, 22 NH of length 3397 km have been declared in the state. In addition, 50 State Highways have been declared NH in principle. While 19 NH projects of length 1289 km, costing Rs 5768 crore, have been completed in the last four years, 24 projects of length 1507 km worth Rs 15063 crore were in progress.
 
Two expressways were proposed to be built in the state – the Rs 3000 crore Indore – Bhopal Expressway and Rs 6000 crore Chambal Expressway. Work on these expressways could begin after land is acquired by the State Government. About 3180 km of Economic Corridors are planned in the state under Bharatmala Pariyojana, in addition to 986 km of Inter Corridors and 679 km of Feeder Routes. Logistics Parks are also planned at Bhopal and Indore, Mr. Gadkari added.
 
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(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)
 
 
 

 

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Six die as car falls into MP reservoir

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Six youths were killed when the car they were travelling in fell into a reservoir in Sehore district of Madhya Pradesh, police said on Monday.
 
The incident took place on Sunday when the driver of the speeding car lost control over it. The youths were on their way to Kolar from Bhopal for a picnic.
 
The car could be taken out only on Monday after the water level in the reservoir subsided, Sehore Superintendent of Police Rajesh Chandel said.
 
IANS
 
(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)
 
 
 
 
 
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Businessman, son hacked to death in Indore

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A businessman and his son have been brutally murdered in Indore -- the business hub of Madhya Pradesh, police said on Monday.
 
According to the police, deceased Vindhyachal Gupta (45), along with his son Sandeep (25) and father Sudama (70), was on Sunday night returning home after closing their shop at around 11 p.m.
 
As they got off from the vehicle near their home, five to six criminals attacked them with sharp-edged weapons. Hearing their cries, people living in the vicinity rushed to their help, but the assailants managed to flee.
 
Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Harinarayan Chari Mishra told IANS: "All the three injured persons were rushed to hospital, but Vindhyachal and Sandeep succumbed to their injuries, while critically injured Sudama is undergoing treatment."
 
Apparently, the reason for killings was old enmity, Mishra said, adding that the police had been able to get some clues and hopefully, the criminals would be arrested soon.
 
Those close to the Gupta family said that the assailants also made good with a bag containing cash. Another cash-filled bag of the Guptas was stolen last Sunday.
 
IANS
 
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Monsoon arrives in MP, heavy rains likely

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The monsoon has entered Madhya Pradesh covering Dhar, Alirajpur, Burhanpur, Barwani, Khargone, Jhabua and Khandwa districts and has brought heavy rains to the state capital, bringing down the mercury by a few notches.
 
The monsoon entered the state from the southwest side, the Met office said. In the past 24 hours, Indore has received 8.6 mm of rain, while Dhar 14.2 mm, Damoh 30 mm and Gwalior 3.8 mm.
 
The weather office has predicted heavy rains for Dhar, Jhabua, Alirajpur and Barwani and scattered rains at all other places with thunderstorms and lightning. Humidity was unusually high on Tuesday. 
 
A cyclonic circulation had developed over south Gujarat and Konkan region while a trough was extending from Gujarat to southwest Rajasthan. 
 
Bhopal recorded a maximum of 35.5 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 24.6 degree Celsius. Indore's maximum was 32.4 degree Celsius while it recorded a minimum temperature of 23.2 degree Celsius. Gwalior was at a high of 43 and a minimum of 24; and Jabalpur 36.8 and minimum 27.9 degrees Celsius.
 
IANS
 
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15 of a family die in MP road accident

 
15 dead in road mishap in MP's Morena
 
 
Fifteen of a family, including eight women, were killed early on Thursday when a jeep collided with a truck in Madhya Pradesh's Morena district, police said.
 
Morena Superintendent of Police Amit Singh told IANS that the family of 20 left Gwalior to attend a relative's funeral. "Their jeep collided with the sand-laden truck on Ambah road in which 12 people died on the spot."
 
Three more died in a hospital later. Of the five injured, two are critical.
 
According to police, the truck was carrying illegally mined sand and the driver was accelerating to avoid being caught. He lost control over the vehicle and hit the jeep.
 
The jeep was so badly mangled that it took a lot of time to extricate the bodies. 
 
The truck driver fled the spot.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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12 killed in MP road accident

 
13 dead in road mishap in MP's Morena
 
 
Twelve persons, including seven women, were killed early on Thursday when a jeep collided with a tractor in Madhya Pradesh's Morena district, police said.
 
The accident occurred when the jeep carrying members of a family to a funeral collided with the sand-laden truck on Ambah road. 
 
Eight others were injured, two of whom were said to be in critical condition.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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Bhaiyyuji Maharaj shoots himself dead

 
Spiritual guru Bhaiyyuji Maharaj commits suicide
 
 
Bhaiyyuji Maharaj, a Madhya Pradesh-based spiritual guru who had prominent followers from different political parties, committed suicide by shooting himself at his residence here on Tuesday.
 
The 50-year-old guru, who was recently given the status of a Minister of State by the government in a controversial decision which he had declined, died after he was admitted to a hospital in a critical condition.
 
"Bhaiyyuji Maharaj shot himself at his residence at Khandwa Road here. He was taken to Bombay Hospital and was admitted to ICU, where he succumbed to injuries," Indore's Deputy Inspector General Harinarayanachari Mishra told IANS.
 
He said that Bhaiyyuji Maharaj had closed the doors of his room from inside and shot himself on his head. 
 
"The door had to be broken open. Police has recovered a revolver and is investigating to find out who the owner is," he said. 
 
Indore's Inspector General Ajay Kumar Sharma said that police was investigating the possible reasons behind the suicide. A suicide note, which mentions that he was under stress, has been recovered from the spot, he said.
 
The suicide note read: "Somebody should be there to handle duties of family. I am leaving too much stressed out, fed up."
 
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and many other leaders expressed grief over the death and offered their condolences.
 
Chouhan said in a message that the country has lost a personality that was a confluence of culture, knowledge and service. "Your thoughts will motivate the society to walk on the path of serving humanity till eternity," he said in a tweet.
 
"Got to know about the sad demise of religious guru Bhaiyyuji Maharaj. I was having personal relations with him. I am saddened by his sudden demise. My tributes," Gadkari tweeted.
 
Mahajan also condoled the demise of Bhaiyyuji Maharaj and said that his untimely demise pains everyone. 
 
"It is difficult to believe that Bhaiyyuji Maharaj is no more among us. He was a spiritual guru, social worker and a great thinker. He worked extensively for the change and reforms in the society," she said. 
 
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"He endeavoured relentlessly to enlighten the society through his organization 'Suryodaya'. His concern for the welfare of the nomadic community is well known."
 
Born Uday Singh Deshmukh, Bhaiyyuji Maharaj had even done modelling for a well-known brand of clothes before turning spiritual. He was seen as a glamorous personality in the spiritual field. He used to travel in Mercedes cars, wore Rolex luxury watches and lived in a luxurious house. 
 
He had good ties with political personalities from various parties and the RSS. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former President Pratibha Patil, late Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and singer Lata Mangeshkar were among the prominent personalities who had visited his ashram here.
 
Bhaiyyuji Maharaj mediated when Anna Hazare was on fast in the national capital seven years ago and persuaded him to end the protest. Anna Hazare had broken his fast after accepting a glass of juice from Bhaiyyuji Maharaj. 
 
When, as Gujarat Chief Minister, Modi observed the 'Sadbhavana' fast, he had invited Bhaiyyuji Maharaj to break his fast.
 
Bhaiyyuji Maharaj had established Shri Sadguru Datta Dharmik Evam Parmarthik Trust in order to turn his thoughts and concepts into reality.
 
Bhaiyyuji Maharaj's wife, Madhvi, died two years ago. Their daughter, Kuhu, is studying in Pune. Last year, he married again.
 
IANS
 
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Bhaiyyuji Maharaj shoots himself dead

 
Spiritual guru Bhaiyyuji Maharaj commits suicide
 
 
Bhaiyyuji Maharaj, a Madhya Pradesh-based spiritual guru who had prominent followers from different political parties, committed suicide on Tuesday by shooting himself at his residence.
 
The 50-year-old guru, who was recently given the status of a Minister of State by the government in a controversial decision which he had declined, died after he was admitted to a hospital in a critical condition.
 
"Bhaiyyuji Maharaj has shot himself at his residence at Khandwa Road here," said Indore's Deputy Inspector General Harinarayanachari Mishra, who had earlier termed the guru's condition as critical and that doctors are monitoring the situation. 
 
The reason behind the attempted suicide was not known, he had said. 
 
Reports said that Maharaj shot himself in the head and was immediately rushed to the hospital but efforts to save his life failed.
 
The reports also said he had left a suicide note saying he was depressed. "Somebody should be there to handle duties of family. I am leaving too much stressed out, fed up," the note reportedly said. Police said it was probing whether it was left by him.
 
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari expressed grief over the death and offered their condolences.
 
Chouhan said in a message that the country has lost a personality that is a confluence of culture, knowledge and service. "Your thoughts will motivate the society to walk on the path of serving humanity till eternity," he said in a tweet.
 
"Got to know about the sad demise of religious guru Bhaiyyuji Maharaj. I was having personal relations with him. I am saddened by his sudden demise. My tributes," Gadkari tweeted.
 
Born Uday Singh Deshmukh, Maharaj had even done modelling for a well-known brand of clothes before turning spiritual. He was seen as a glamorous personality in the spiritual field.
 
He had good ties with political personalities from various parties and the RSS. He mediated when Anna Hazare was on fast in the national capital five years ago and persuaded him to end the protest. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former President Pratibha Patil, late Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar and singer Lata Mangeshkar were among the prominent personalities who had visited his ashram here.
 
IANS
 
 
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Bhaiyyuji Maharaj shoots himself, critical

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Bhaiyyuji Maharaj, a Madhya Pradesh based spiritual guru, shot himself on Tuesday and has been admitted to a private hospital here in critical condition, police said.
 
"Bhaiyyuji Maharaj has shot himself at his residence at Khandwa Road here," Indore's Deputy Inspector General of Police Harinarayanachari Mishra said. 
 
The reason behind the attempted suicide is not known, he said. 
 
Mishra said Maharaj had been admitted to the Bombay Hospital. "His condition is critical. Doctors are monitoring the situation," the officer said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Will waive farm loans in 10 days if voted to power in MP: Rahul

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday kicked off the party's poll campaign in Madhya Pradesh, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of betraying farmers and promising to waive farm loans in 10 days if voted to power.
 
He also promised that the families of the farmers who were killed in Mandsaur will get justice in 10 days if his party was voted to power. 
 
Addressing a rally, Gandhi questioned the delay in filing of a probe report into the death of seven farmers in police firing a year ago, alleging that the BJP government had failed to provide security to farmers and address their concerns.
 
"I assure you, when the Congress forms government in Madhya Pradesh, farmers' loans will be written off within 10 days. The families of the farmers (killed in Mandsaur last year) will get justice in 10 days and we will take action against those responsible for the firing," the Congress President said.
 
Gandhi lashed out at the state and the Centre for ignoring the farm distress across the country.
 
"The governments are of no use if they cannot provide security to farmers and their families. A total of 1,200 farmers committed suicide in Madhya Pradesh. Did any rich person or their family member commit suicide who have lakhs of crores as debt," he said, addressing the Kisan Samriddhi Sankalp Rally.
 
"Our priority will be to provide security to the farmers and their families," he added. 
 
Earlier, Gandhi paid tributes to the dead farmers in Piplia Mandi town of Mandsaur district.
 
"The Prime Minister and Chief Minister (Shivraj Singh Chouhan) talk about the farmers but when they demand the right price for their produce and ask for waiving off their loans, they do not listen. 
 
"Prime Minister waived off loans worth Rs 2.5 lakh crore of just 15 businessmen, but when I requested him to waive off farm loans, he maintained a studied silence," said Rahul Gandhi.
 
Gandhi also said the food people eat is all due to the efforts of farmers and their families and not rich businessmen. "That is why farmers are our priority," he added.
 
"My priority is the people of this country, then it is the Congress karyakartas and third is the Congress leaders.
 
"My dream is that when we come here after 5-7 years and look at our phones, we find 'Made in Mandsaur' written on it. Narendra Modi and Shivraj Singh Chouhan won't be able to do this work. Kamal Nath and Scindia (Jyotiraditya Scindia) can do this," the Congress President said.
 
IANS
 
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EC forms 4 teams to probe bogus voter allegations in MP

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The Election Commission on Sunday formed four teams to look into allegation levelled by Congress that lakhs of bogus voters were registered in Madhya Pradesh.
 
The EC has formed teams consisting of two members each to verify electoral rolls in Narela, Bhojpur, Hoshangabad and Seoni Malwa Assembly constituencies.
 
The teams will start their probe from Monday and submit their report by June 7.
 
The EC's move came hours after the Congress submitted a memorandum to the poll panel along with instances of multiple entries of the same voter with different names in a given Assembly constituency as well as those of one voter listed in multiple assembly constituencies.
 
The Congress alleged that there were close to 60 lakh bogus voters in the state and that it was being done at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) behest.
 
Madhya Pradesh Congress President Kamal Nath said they have provided evidence to the EC that there were approximately 60 lakh fake voters in the lists.
 
Citing figures, Nath questioned: "How is it possible that population has increased by 24 per cent but number of voters has increased by 40 per cent?"
 
The party has sought the removal of all duplicate entries in the electoral rolls of 230 Assembly constituencies of Madhya Pradesh to conduct free and fair elections.
 
The terms of reference of the teams formed by the EC include enquiring into each specific issues raised in the complaint; to find out the "alleged fake voters' name, if any"; to find out "how did it happen" and fix the responsibility to initiate appropriate action.
 
IANS
 
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Rahul to address farmers in Mandsaur on June 6

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi will address a farmers' rally in Mandsaur of Madhya Pradesh on June 6 -- the day seven farmers had died in a police firing last year.
 
Gandhi threw his weight behind the farmers' protest in several states between June 1 and June 10, to observe the anniversary of Mandsaur firing.
 
In a tweet that came a day after a 10-day farmers' protest began on Friday, he said he would address a rally in Mandsaur on June 6 to highlight the agrarian issues afflicting the country.
 
"Every day, about 35 farmers commit suicide in our country. To attract government's attention towards the agrarian crisis, farmers are forced to protest for 10 days.
 
"To stand with them in the fight for the rights of our 'Annadata' (food provider), I will address a farmer's rally in Mandsaur on June 6," he said.
 
Farmers in the agrarian states of Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Rajasthan on Friday joined the 10-day protest call given by various farmer organisations in Madhya Pradesh, who strew milk and other food items on the roads. 
 
In a statement, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: "Modi government's uncaring, unfeeling, insensitive, apathetic and thick-skinned attitude to the issues raised by 62 per cent of India's population - farmers - has precipitated into a nationwide protest by our 'Annadata'."
 
"The protest by farmers is a direct affirmation of the 'Kisan Virodhi' policies of Narendra Modi," he added.
 
He said: "While Mandsaur shooting is the symbol, the farmers across India are protesting against widespread rural indebtedness, non-remunerative prices and complete apathy of the Modi government."
 
He also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Madhya Pradesh government of trying to suppress the protests by using illegal means in sheer desperation.
 
"It (state government) is panic stricken, as it even forced the farmers to sign ‘peace bonds' before the protest. Now the MP police has especially bought 17,000 new battens to take care of the protest," he said in the statement.
 
"Farmers have announced that they will not sell their produce in Mandis in cities. They are demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Committee Report to avail cost+50 per cent MSP as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They are also demanding a complete loan waiver," it added.
 
IANS
 
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World Bank to provide $ 500 million for All-Weather Rural Roads

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The Government of India and the World Bank today signed a $500 million loan agreement to provide additional financing for the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) Rural Roads Project which will build 7,000 km of climate resilient roads, out of which 3,500 km will be constructed using green technologies.
 
A press release from the World Bank said it had supported PMGSY since its inception in 2004. So far it has invested over $1.8 billion in loans and credits, mostly in the economically weaker and hill states across North India – Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. It has built and improved about 35,000 km of rural roads and benefited about eight million people with access to all-weather roads.   
 
The agreement for the project was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India and Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank.
 
“The PMGSY over the years has brought about a paradigm shift in the way rural roads are mapped, designed, monitored and built, involving communities especially women,” said Khare. “The additional finance will bring a new shift in construction technology using green and low carbon designs and climate resilient techniques. Now more rural communities will have access to better economic opportunities and social services.”
 
Adequate maintenance of the existing 4.6 million km of road network is emerging as a major challenge. Many parts of the existing road network are either vulnerable to or have already suffered damage from climate induced events such as floods, high rainfall, sudden cloud bursts and land-slides.
 
“To support the rural economy and communities and households that depend on rural livelihoods, it will be critical to ensure that infrastructure is built and maintained to withstand climatic changes,” said Ahmad. “This project will demonstrate how climate resilient construction can be integrated in the strategy and planning of rural roads,” he added.
 
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The PMGSY and the Bank’s involvement under this additional financing, will emphasize on managing the rural road network using green, low-carbon designs and new technologies – far beyond merely funding civil works.   This will be done through the following measures:
 
Climate vulnerability assessment during the design process to identify the critical locations affected by floods, water-logging, submergence, cloud bursts, storms, landslides, poor drainage, excessive erosion, high rainfall, and high temperatures;
Special treatment for flood-affected areas through adequate waterways and submersible roads to allow easy passage of water, use of concrete block pavements, and improved drainage;
Use of environmentally optimized road designs and new technologies which use local and marginal materials and industrial by-products such as sand, local soils, fly ash, brick kiln wastes, and other similar materials in place of crushed rocks;
Innovative bridges and culverts that use pre-fabricated/pre-cast units with the ability to withstand earthquakes and water forces;
Use of hill cutting material in hill roads ensuring its productive use and resolving its disposal problem; and
Use of bio-engineering measures, improved drainage and other treatments for landslide prone areas and providing adequate slope protection.
 
The release said the additional financing will also fill the gender gap by creating employment opportunities for women in construction and maintenance. The earlier project had piloted community-based maintenance contracts through women self-help groups (SHGs) for routine maintenance of 200 km of PMGSY roads in Uttarakhand, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh.  SHG-run maintenance contracts will now be extended to about 500 km roads over five states.
 
“All components of the project will have substantial climate co-benefits and help road agencies in India to substantially minimize GHG emissions. Improving road conditions alone will result on an average in direct savings of 2.68 million tons annually in GHG emissions and minimize the annual losses of about $9 billion in the road asset value and an equal amount by way of high vehicle operating costs,” said Ashok Kumar, Senior Highway Engineer and World Bank’s Task Team Leader for the project.
 
The $500 million loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 3-year grace period, and a maturity of 10 years.
 
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ADB to provide $ 375 million loan for project to improve irrigation, farmers' incomes in MP

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The Manila-based Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) will provide a $375 million loan for a project that will contribute to doubling farming incomes in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh by expanding irrigation networks and system efficiency.
 
“Water plays a critical role in India’s food production and the welfare of the poor in rural areas,” said ADB Principal Water Resources Specialist for South Asia Arnaud Cauchois. 
 
“With agriculture under continuous pressure to meet society’s needs, given population growth and changing dietary habits, ADB’s project will support technical and institutional innovations to produce considerable gains in irrigation water use efficiency," an ADB press release quoted Mr. Cauchois as saying.
 
The release said that about 84% of all water withdrawals are used for agriculture in India, where 42% of all agricultural land is irrigated. However, current average efficiency of irrigation water use is only 38%, pointing to the need for a serious improvement in performance. Productivity of irrigated water is further hampered by low crop yields and cultivation of low-value crops, it said.
 
An ADB study in 2014 identified three main causes for low efficiency of water use: poor irrigation infrastructure, inadequate operation and maintenance, and lack of training or capacity. The Government of India has also acknowledged the need for improvements in irrigation water use efficiency in its Three-Year Action Agenda (2017–2018 to 2019–2020).
 
Since 2010, modernization of systems in Madhya Pradesh, together with improvements in their management and operation, have expanded the state’s irrigated area and produced record annual agricultural growth of 20% in 2013–2016, the release said.
 
The state plans to double the total irrigated area to 7.2 million hectares (ha) by 2025 from current levels by boosting efficiency in water use. This will be achieved through developing pressurized irrigation systems and adopting micro-irrigation, which will support the development of high-value crops such as orange orchards and vegetables.
 
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The Water Resources Department of Madhya Pradesh requested ADB assistance to help finance this plan and provide a model for future modernization investments through technical and institutional innovations. On the technical side, the innovation consists of developing a large-scale pressurized and automated irrigation system, while on the institutional side, the project will introduce a design–build–operate (DBO) contracting approach.
 
The project will focus on two large irrigation systems. The first—the Kundalia irrigation project—will develop 125,000 ha of new and highly efficient and climate resilient irrigation networks. More than 40% of the population in this area depends on agriculture for livelihood, with wheat and soybeans as the two main crops.
 
The work to be undertaken includes building two large pumping stations pumping water to distribution chambers where water will be distributed through a network of buried pipes to farm outlets. The project will also help farmers adopt micro-irrigated agriculture including high-value crops. It is expected to not only double farmer incomes but benefit about 838,000 people in 419 villages.
 
The contractor under the DBO approach will be tasked to operate and maintain the system for 5 years after completion of construction.
 
For the second large irrigation system, the project will prepare a comprehensive modernization feasibility study and other preparatory work for the Sanjay Sarovar Irrigation Project.
 
The total project cost is $535.1 million, of which $160.7 million will be provided by the government. The estimated completion date is end of September 2025.
 
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Khajuraho again hottest in India at over 48 degrees

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Madhya Pradesh's tourist destination of Khajuraho, globally known for its intricate temple sculptures, was on Monday again the hottest place in the country, recording a maximum temperature of 48.6 degrees Celsius as a heat wave blanketed the state.
 
The combination of the scorching sun and the searing hot "lu" winds hit life throughout the sprawling central Indian state, with Khajuraho getting even hotter than the 47.2 degrees recorded on Sunday.
 
Meanwhile, Damoh recorded a high of 47 degrees while several other places experienced a maximum of over 46 degrees.
 
Despite the pre-monsoon developments, the state bore the brunt of the heat wave, with streets nearly deserted between 12 noon and 5 p.m. as people preferred to remain indoors.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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A.P. Express coaches catch fire, none injured

 
Andhra Pradesh AC Superfast Express catches fire
 
 
At least two coaches of the A.P. Express caught fire near Birlanagar in Madhya Pradesh on Monday, officials said. No one was injured.
 
According to a Railway Ministry official, the fire was detected in the B-6 coach around 11.50 a.m. The fire then spread to the B-7 coach, Ved Prakash, a Railway Ministry spokesperson, told IANS.
 
Following the fire, the guard stopped the train and shifted the passengers of the B-6 and B-7 coaches to other coaches. The train then reached Gwalior, he said.
 
The train was on its way from Vishakapatnam to Hazrat Nizamuddin, the official said. An inquiry has been ordered into the accident.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
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Cabinet nod establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation in Bhopal

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The Union Cabinet today approved the establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR) in Bhopal as a society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. 
 
The estimated cumulative cost of the project is Rs. 179.54 crore in the first three years. This includes non-recurring expenditure of Rs. 128.54 crore and recurring expenditure of Rs. 51 crore, an official press release said.
 
The release said the Cabinet also approved the proposal to create three Joint Secretary-level posts, which include one post of Director of the Institute and two posts of Professors.
 
The main objectives of the NIMHR are to provide rehabilitation services to persons with mental illness, capacity development in the area of mental health rehabilitation, policy framing and advanced research in mental health rehabilitation, it said.
 
The Institute will have nine Departments/Centres and will conduct 12 courses to offer diploma, certificate, graduate, post-graduate and M.Phil degrees in the area of mental health rehabilitation. Within a span of five years, the student intake of the institute in various courses is expected to be over 400.
 
The Government of Madhya Pradesh has allocated five acres of land in Bhopal for setting up of this Institute. The Institute will be established in three years in two phases. Within two years, the civil and electrical work of the institute will be completed. Simultaneously, during the construction of building, the Institute will run in a suitable rented building in Bhopal to conduct certificate/diploma courses and also OPD services. Subsequently, the Institute will provide complete set of rehabilitation services for persons with mental illness and conduct courses upto Master's degree and M.Phil.
 
NIMHR will be the first of its kind in the country in the area of mental health rehabilitation.  It will serve as an institution of excellence to develop capacity building in the area of mental health rehabilitation and also help the Government to develop models for effective rehabilitation of persons with mental illness, the release added.
 
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Minor sexually assaulted, burnt alive in MP

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A minor girl was gang-raped and burnt alive in Khurai in Madhya Pradesh by her relative and his friend, following which one person was arrested, police said on Friday.
 
Additional Superintendent of Police Vikramjit Singh said the victim was sexually assaulted by her cousin and his friend in Jujharpur village in Bandri police station area when she was alone in her house on Thursday night. She was burnt alive after she resisted.
 
He said Ravinder has been arrested while Bharat is absconding. The accused were booked under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Indian Penal Code.
 
Home Minister Bhupender Singh, in whose Assembly segment the village falls, met the bereaved family and announced Rs 2 lakh aid.
 
IANS
 
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Four army trucks burnt in fire on goods train

 
Military vehicles burnt in fire on goods train in MP
 
 
Four army trucks were burnt to ashes in a fire on a goods train, which was also carrying ammunition and explosives, on Thursday on the Bhopal-Nagpur stretch in Madhya Pradesh, officials said.
 
The fire broke out while the train, on way from Bengaluru to Uttar Pradesh's Faizabad, was near Maramjhiri station between Betul and Itarsi junctions, an official said, adding the reasons for the blaze were yet to be ascertained.
 
Operations on the stretch were affected following the fire.
 
Betul District Collector Shashank Mishra told mediapersons that the fire, which swept across four bogies on which the trucks were being transported, had now been controlled, and while the trucks had been destroyed, the ammunition and explosives were safe. A decision on the forward movement of the train would be taken after consultations, he added. 
 
Government Railway Police Inspector Hemraj Kumre said that his team reached the spot on coming to know of the blaze and spent many hours dousing it.
 
Mishra, Superintendent of Police Saket Prakash Pandey and other senior officials have reached the spot, along with senior railway officials.
 
IANS
 
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Independent MLA joins BJP in Madhya Pradesh

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Independent MLA Dinesh Rai has joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh in the presence of state BJP President Rakesh Singh.
 
Rai, who represents Seoni constituency, joined the party on Thursday night.
 
The MLA said: "Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has done a lot for my constituency. So I joined the party."
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Eight mowed down by truck in Jabalpur, MP

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At least eight persons were mowed down by a truck here on Sunday while three others were injured, two of them critically, police said.
 
Superintendent of Police Kumar Saurabh said a group of persons was standing at a bus stop at Mankhedi village in Belkheda police station area when the truck laden with cement went out of control, ran over them and toppled .
 
Several persons were feared trapped under the truck and the cement sacks that spilled around. The truck driver was on his way to Bhopal when the accident occurred in the afternoon.
 
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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A go-getter, Kamal Nath faces onerous task as MP state chief

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Kamal Nath, who the Congress has appointed as the new Madhya Pradesh unit chief in a bid to break BJP's hold in the state, is seen as a go-getter, a quick decision-maker and a smart tactician, who has won nine Lok Sabha elections.
 
He faces an onerous task in his new role to lead the party's effort to unseat the well-entrenched BJP in Madhya Pradesh, where Congress has been out of power for the last 15 years. 
 
With about seven months left for the assembly elections, Kamal Nath, 71, will need to take quick steps to galvanise the party unit and forge appropriate social and caste matrix for party's success. 
 
While his seniority and acceptability across different factions of the state unit is seen as an advantage, Kamal Nath will be called upon to use his resourcefulness to inject a momentum into the party's as quickly as possible to face the poll challenge.
 
The central leaderhip took its time in announcing a leadership change in the Madhya Pradesh as it weighed various options.
 
There was speculation that Jyotiradtiya Scindia, 47, a four-time MP, would be declared the chief ministerial candidate. 
 
Kamal Nath was in favour of an early announcement of the chief ministerial candidate and had gone on record to state that he would welcome announcement about Scindia being declared the candidate. 
 
Scindia has now been made Chairman of the Campaign Committee for the assembly polls. 
 
Though the party has not formally announced a Chief Ministerial candidate, Kamal Nath is seen as a front runner for the post in case the party gets a majority. 
 
Kamal Nath has signalled that he will take along all leaders, including former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, in his efforts to unseat the BJP. Singh had embarked on a Narmada Yatra recently and has considerable support base across the state.
 
Among the factors that seem to have worked in favour of Kamal Nath are his vast organisational and administrative experience and his resourcefulness. 
 
Kamal Nath's appointment also signals Congress President Rahul Gandhi's endeavour to give regard to experience of party's senior leadership while making crucial election-related decisions. 
 
There was speculation that young leaders will be appointed to key posts in states after Gandhi's elevation as party chief in December last. 
 
Kamal Nath not only has to take on three-time Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the electoral arena but also faces a BJP election machinery which has shown considerable booth level dexterity under party chief Amit Shah. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP's most popular campaigner, is also expected to campaign extensively in Madhya Pradesh in the run-up to the assembly polls. 
 
Kamal Nath will be expected to replicate at state level his own expertise in repeatedly winning elections from Chhindwara. 
 
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He has undertaken several welfare initiatives in Chhindwara and maintained a connect with the voters. He retained his seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls despite the BJP sweeping the elections in Madhya Pradesh. He was later elected pro-term Speaker, being the senior-most member of the 16th Lok Sabha. 
 
Kamal Nath has been a union minister in different Congress-led governments and has also held organisational posts including being in-charge of Gujarat and Haryana in his nearly four-decade political career. 
 
Kamal Nath also has friends across the political spectrum. A friend of the late Sanjay Gandhi, he was first elected to Lok Sabha in 1980. He was Minister of Environment and Forests as also Textiles Minister during the Narasimha Rao government. 
 
Kamal Nath was a key member of the two UPA governments and was Commerce and Industry Minister from 2004-2009. During the UPA-II government, he held portfolios of Road Transport and Highways, Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs. 
 
As India's Commerce minister, he championed the cause of developing countries at WTO ministerial meetings. 
 
He also took initiatives for the protection of the environment.
 
IANS
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Kamal Nath named Madhya Pradesh Congress president, Scindia made campaign chief

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi today appointed former Union Minister Kamal Nath as the  new president of the party's unit in Madhya Pradesh, where assembly elections are due later this year.
 
Another former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was also said to be in the running for the position, was named as the Chairman of the Campaign Committee.
 
"The party appreciates the hard work and contribution of Shri Arun Yadav, who will be stepping down from his responsibility as PCC President of Madhya Pradesh," a press release issued by Mr. Ashok Gehlot, General Secretary, All India Congress Committee, said.
 
The release said Mr. Bala Bachhan, Mr. Ramnivas Rawat, Mr. Jitu Patwari and Mr. Surender Choudhary had been appointed as working presidents of Madhya Pradesh PCC.
 
Mr. Nath, 71, is serving his ninth term as a Member of the Lok Sabha from Chhindwara constituency in Madhya Pradesh. He was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1980.
 
He has served as Union Minister for Environment and Forests, Textiles, Commerce and Industry, Road Transport and Highways, Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs over the years.
 
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Modi for social movement against sexual crimes, launches Gram Swaraj Abhiyan

 
Ordinance to amend POSCO Act will ensure women's safety: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called for a social movement for protecting girls in the wake of increasing rapes reported from different parts of the country and said families have to teach their sons to become responsible.
 
Addressing a gathering here to mark the National Panchayati Raj Day, he also said that museums will be set up in states where tribals have played a role in the freedom struggle and called for a resolve for transformation of villages in the next four years. 
 
He launched the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, unveiled a road map for overall development of tribals during the next five years and laid the foundation stone of an LPG bottling plant of Indian Oil Corporation at Maneri in this Madhya Pradesh district. 
 
With almost a year left for the next Lok Sabha polls, the programme in this predominantly tribal district is seen as an effort by the BJP-led government to reach out to rural masses. Madhya Pradesh will face assembly polls later this year.
 
In his nearly 45-minute speech, Modi suggested steps to boost farmers income, improve soil health and boost ground water recharge. He laid stress on the use of technology, including mobile phones, to bring transparency and efficiency in implementing welfare initiatives. 
 
Citing the ordinance brought by his government last week that provides for death sentence to those convicted of raping a child below 12 years of age and life term to those raping a child below 16, he also mentioned the applause that Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan received when he mentioned of the ordinance during his speech. 
 
The Prime Minister called for steps to give more respect to the daughters in the families.
 
"The government in Delhi listens to your heart. We should learn to give respect to daughters in the family, we should increase the importance of daughters in the family and start teaching sons about responsibility. It will never be difficult to protect daughters if we start teaching sons about responsibility. 
 
"The one who acts devilishly will face the gallows. We have to build a social movement and we can all together bring out the country from this problem," he said.
 
Modi's remarks came in the wake of nationwide outrage over the rape and murder of a minor in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua district and other similar incidents including a case in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh where the main accused is a BJP MLA. 
 
He also said that some of the real heroes of the freedom struggle have not got the attention they deserved, and he did not know "what problem came".
 
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Referring to the sacrifice by leaders from the tribal community in the struggle for freedom, specially after 1857, he said they fought many big fights for the country's honour. 
 
Modi said apart from Birsa Munda and Rani Avantibai, sacrifices have been made by a lot of people. 
 
"It is my dream that in every state where tribals have fought for freedom struggle, a modern museum will be made," he said. 
 
Modi also said that the Panchayati Raj Day was an important opportunity to fulfill the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi. 
 
"By 2022, we should transform our villages in accordance with the dream of Mahatma Gandhi. I want to make you persons of strong resolve." 
 
He suggested bee-keeping and planting bamboo on edges of fields as steps which can boost income of farmers. Bamboo has been classified as "grass" by the government to enable its better commercial use, he added. 
 
Modi said the concern these days was not about lack of funds and the given tasks should be carried out honestly and with transparency.
 
"Not a single child should stay illiterate. If a life is transformed due to a pradhan, India moves in the right direction," he said, adding he was talking of small things as these bring about a change. 
 
Urging villagers to take care of the health of soil in their fields, he said that large use of chemical fertilisers can cause damage and suggested bringing down use of urea. 
 
Referring to the MGNREGA, he suggested that focus can be on water conservation works in April, May and June and said if every drop of rain water is conserved, it will bring down expenses.
 
"We have to take forward Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan," he said. 
 
IANS
 
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